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Steve Bisciotti: Ravens Are Hurting, Won't 'Stick to Sports'

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti

Owner Steve Bisciotti had strong words in a team video Friday in which he vowed to support Ravens players who speak out in the fight against racism and social injustice.

Bisciotti has a full-length statement lasting more than five minutes that will be released tomorrow.

Since Floyd's death, many Ravens have been outspoken in interviews and via social media, using their platform to call for meaningful change. Bisciotti said that being quiet about racism and social injustice is not an option for the Ravens organization.

"To say 'stick to sports' is the worst possible thing that you can feel and say," Bisciotti said. "If my players, both white and black, don't speak out about this injustice to their communities, then they're sellouts or hypocrites. If I don't defend my players, then I'm the worst kind of hypocrite.

Last week, the Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation committed $1 million to support social justice reform throughout the Baltimore community. A committee of current and former Ravens players will determine which Baltimore-area programs will directly benefit from the contribution.

In recent weeks, the violent deaths of George Floyd and others have led to protests and a worldwide call for action. In Friday's video, Bisciotti mentioned the deaths of Floyd and Ahmaud Arbury, and said that watching the videotapes of their deaths made him feel "sick" and "angry".

"Like most of you, I'm sure watching those videos shook you and shook me to my core," Bisciotti said. "It was the most despicable thing I had ever seen."

Bisciotti said he participated in recent Zoom meetings with players and coaches and felt the pain that racism and social injustice cause. While conversations about race and social issues can be difficult, Bisciotti said those discussions must be had.

"I don't think I've grown by seeing their anger. I think I've grown by feeling their hurt. And these young men are hurting," Bisciotti said.

"I'm lucky enough through my ownership of this wonderful franchise to have gotten close enough to these young men to see and hear their hurt. And all they're asking for right now is to be heard. And I want to ask you individually, 'Are you willing to listen?'"

Bisciotti concluded his message by saying, "Black Lives Matter."

"Ask the uncomfortable questions and you will come to the conclusion, I hope, that I have, that you don't feel it enough, and you don't live it enough, if you're not willing to say it," Bisciotti said. "Black Lives Matter."

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